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FairfaxMCA likes most pedestrian/bicycle projects near W. Falls Church Metro

MCA likes most pedestrian/bicycle projects near W. Falls Church Metro

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The McLean Citizens Association (MCA) on Jan. 4 passed a resolution supporting 19 of 20 proposed bicycle-and-pedestrian projects near the West Falls Church Metrorail station, but said one was too costly and likely unneeded.

The city of Falls Church has granted permits for the mixed-use West Falls Development Project now being built at the former site of Meridian (previously George Mason) High School.

Fairfax County supervisors in July 2021 approved a comprehensive-plan amendment to allow high-density, mixed-use development of two nearby properties, including 24 acres owned by the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) and 7 acres occupied by Virginia Tech.

The plan amendment also called for improved pedestrian-and-bicycle connections between the Metrorail station and surrounding neighborhoods.


The Fairfax County Department of Transportation (FCDOT) in December 2021 began the West Falls Church Metrorail Area Active Transportation Study, which assessed the pedestrian network within 1 mile of the station and the bicycle within a 2-mile radius of the facility.

FCDOT last November published the final report on the study, which projected that traffic on Haycock Road between Leesburg Pike and Great Falls Street would increase 32 percent by 2045.

Supervisors Dalia Palchik (D-Providence) and John Foust (D-Dranesville) appointed an advisory group that recommended 16 pedestrian-related projects in the Metro station’s vicinity, as well as four bicycle initiatives.

The projects, listed here by number and geographic quadrant, included these two that MCA previously endorsed:

• SE-1 would improved a pathway along Haycock Road between Great Falls Street and Metro Access Road.

• NW-4 would build a sidewalk along Redd Road to Idylwood Road and include a crosswalk for safe access to Lemon Road Elementary School.

Of the other recommended pedestrian projects:

• SW-1 would provide a safer crossing over Leesburg Pike at Shreve and Haycock roads.

• SW-2 would build a new pathway on the north side of Shreve Road between Chestnut Street and Leesburg Pike.

• SW-3 would upgrade the sidewalk on Leesburg Pike between Idylwood Road and Falls Church Drive and install flashing beacons at crossings with the Interstate 66 interchange.

• SW-4 would build sidewalks along Gordons Road and Chestnut Street.

• NW-1 would add a pedestrian refuge on Idylwood Road near Lemon Road Elementary School.

• NW-2 would build a handicapped-accessible pathway from Pimmit Drive to Lemon Road Elementary.

• NW-5 would install high-visibility crosswalks at the intersection of Pimmit Drive and Leesburg Pike and add other crosswalks where needed.

• NE-1 would add a mid-block crossing with flashing beacons on Haycock Road near Casemont Drive.

• NE-2 would install no-right-turn-on-red or yield-to-pedestrians signage at the Westmoreland Street/Haycock Road intersection and construct corner bulb-outs to reduce the width of roadway pedestrians must cross.

• NE-3 would add a crossing on Great Falls Street at Hutchison Street and build a sidewalk along Hutchison Street between Great Falls and Reynolds streets.

• SE-2 would build a sidewalk along one side of Turner Avenue from Grayson Place to Haycock Road.

• SE-3 would improve the pathway along Grove Avenue approaching Haycock Road.

• SE-4 would add a crosswalk on Great Falls Street at Moly Drive.

The recommended bicycle initiatives would:

• Build an 8- to 10-foot-wide paved trail along Haycock Road from Westmoreland Street to the city of Falls Church.

• Construct a 10-foot-wide shared-use path along Shreve Road between the Washington & Old Dominion (W&OD) Regional Trail and Leesburg Pike.

• Add a 12-foot-wide shared-use path along Leesburg Pike between Pimmit and Falls Church drives.

• Install flashing beacons to improve visibility at the W&OD Trail crossing at Virginia Lane.

“We believe these projects will improve access to the West Falls Church Metro station and area schools and will likely be cost-effective,” said Glenn Harris, chairman of MCA’s Transportation Committee.

MCA’s resolution urged that projects SE-1, NW-1, NW-4, NW-5, NE-1 and NE-2 be included for funding this spring in the county’s Transportation Priorities Plan.

The lone recommended project rejected by MCA’s resolution was NW-3, which would create a secure pedestrian pathway to the West Falls Church Metrorail station from Idylwood Road. The path would run through or along WMATA’s railyard at the site.

MCA rejected the proposed project “due to doubts about its cost-effectiveness and because we don’t know that this project is really needed,” Harris said.

Besides security concerns related to building a path through the railyard (“Obviously, we don’t want terrorists to be able to get access to Metro cars,” Harris said), the project also would be the costliest among the 20 and require construction of retaining walls, the resolution stated.

The project also might not be necessary because of the proposed shared-use path for Leesburg Pike, it added.

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